Sam, Chemistry

Chemistry Sam H

Doing Chemistry at degree-level you are taught to question not only what chemical reaction happens, but why it happens.

I originally come from the great seaside town of Bournemouth, where I attended a state comprehensive school. I decided to apply to Oxford after visiting on an Open Day in the summer after my AS exams. When I looked around everyone here was unbelievably friendly and the environment was incredibly welcoming! I didn’t decide to apply for Chemistry until a few months before the UCAS deadline, as I was torn between Chemistry and Biochemistry. I always knew that I wanted to do a science subject, but after researching the course material I found that the Chemistry course matched my interests most. The fourth year research project also swayed me towards applying to Oxford– the idea of working for a year on an area of Chemistry of my interest and potentially finding out things that no-one else has discovered before is very appealing.
Trinity is located pretty much in the centre of everything you could possibly need as a student – there are shops a mere two minutes’ walk away from Trinity’s front gates, whereas a trip to the Science area for my morning lectures takes a little over five minutes! Trinity’s gardens are some of the most beautiful in Oxford, and the accommodation is staggering as well.

The best thing about being a student at Oxford is the brilliant people that I’m surrounded by everyday. I am constantly astounded by how knowledgeable both my tutors and lecturers are, which is probably unsurprising as they’re all world-leaders in their fields of interest! It’s reassuring to know that if I ever have any problems, academic or otherwise, there will always be someone around to help. Another amazing thing about Oxford is the vast number of opportunities available. Whether you’re into sports, music, acting, or anything whatsoever, there will always be a society to cater for your extra-curricular needs, and if its something a bit more obscure that no-one else has thought of you can always start a society yourself!

The Chemistry course is intense, but there will always be time to pursue extra-curricular interests. Tutorials vary largely in their content, but usually involve a prepared set of notes and questions for a topic. These can be quite intellectually demanding at times, but all of the Chemistry tutors at Trinity are very friendly, and ensure that anything not understood is made thoroughly clear.

In the first year you get a broad understanding of how Chemistry relates to other branches of science as aspects of Physics, Biology and particularly Maths are part of the core syllabus. One other aspect of the course quite different to school is the increase in the amount of practical time you get – this is perfect for putting into practice the content learnt in lectures and tutorials. One particular area of chemistry that interests me is Thermodynamics – this is one of the first lecture courses studied in the first year, and provides a detailed understanding of how the laws that govern the entire universe relate to the observations we see in chemical reactions. This is largely one of the ways Chemistry differs from the A-level – at degree-level you are taught to question not only what chemical reaction happens, but why it happens.

As I’m only in my first year I haven’t decided on what career I want from my chemistry degree, although a career in research has always interested me, particularly working in the pharmaceutical industry. Oxford has been an amazing experience so far and I would 100% encourage anyone considering applying here to go for it and apply!

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